The opening of the Levkos Oros-Samaria National Park tomorrow, Saturday 12 June, at 7:00 am, along the main route (Xyloskalo-Agia Roumeli), was announced today by the Forestry Authority of Chania (Crete).
The walking tour along the gorge will be carried out with the adopted sanitary protocol, and if the weather conditions change to such an extent that there are problems with the unhindered passage of visitors, the Chania Forestry Authority will either propose regulation of the crossing or impose a ban on visiting the national park.
As the announcement says, “The Samaria Gorge is a unique natural ecosystem of incomparable beauty. Passing through it is a difficult and long process, which, at times, is beyond the power of every visitor. “
The Sanitary Protocol for the Samaria Gorge, published by the Forestry Department, is as follows:
Informing visitors with information signs at the entrances (Xiloskalo and Agia Roumeli), as well as in the stops and rest areas inside the gorge to comply with the prescribed sanitary measures and the necessary distances between visitors. It is recommended to maintain the prescribed distance (keep distance) along the entire length of the path. Avoid overcrowding at entrances and ticket offices. Mandatory use of a mask by employees and visitors in all premises. Installation of antiseptic preparations (sanitizers) at the cash desks, with the installation of a protective partition. Use of individual antiseptic packaging by visitors and safety to avoid fire. Good hand hygiene is recommended.
However, as noted, the use of protective gloves by personnel is optional.
Samaria gorge, Crete
The Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe. Its length is 16 km, and its beauty defies description. Before deciding to take this difficult route, you need to properly prepare.
The Samaria Gorge is considered the second most famous attraction in Crete, but, unlike the Palace of Knossos, it is visited by far fewer people. The Samaria Gorge attracts trekking and nature lovers, for many it is the main destination of the trip.
The Samaria Gorge was geologically formed more than 2 million years ago, when, under the influence of tectonic processes, the island of Crete acquired its shape. Since ancient times, people have lived in the gorge; it also served as a refuge from the Turkish yoke, German occupation, and civil war. In 1962, the Samaria Gorge received the status of a national park, all residents of the Samaria village were resettled, and it was opened to visitors.
The Samaria National Park is a UNESCO protected area, where unique plants and rare animals live, the most famous of which is the Kri-Kri wild goat. The reserve is visited by about 200,000 people a year.
Assess your strength
The complete route of the Samaria Gorge is 18 km. This distance with rest stops is covered in 5-7 hours. Trekking along the Samaria gorge requires good physical shape and proper equipment. Do not walk if you have health problems, especially with your legs and knees, or if you feel unwell. This route is also not recommended for people with a sedentary lifestyle, the elderly and children. Do not plan activities for the next 1-2 days after the hike, you need to give your legs a rest (only trained athletes do not hurt).
When to go?
Samaria National Park is open from early May to late October, from 6:00 to 16:00. The gorge may be closed due to weather conditions (rain, strong wind). Up-to-date information on the official website. The best time to visit the Samaria Gorge: May, second half of September, October. Plants bloom in May, and in autumn you can swim in the sea. In July-August it is very hot and most of the people.
How to dress?
The main thing is comfortable closed shoes. It is not necessary to have special trekking boots. Choose shoes with thick soles with good fixation of the foot – you will have to walk on stones. Sandals and slippers do not fit. From outerwear, it is best to wear shorts and a T-shirt, take a hat and a swimsuit. The hike begins early in the morning, when it is still cold, many come in trousers and windbreakers.
What to take with you?
Food: sandwiches, fruit, a bottle of water. They don’t sell anything in the gorge. Drinking water can be poured from the springs, so there is no need to bring a large bottle. Bring a patch for cuts or blisters, sunscreen, money to pay for tickets and lunch after leaving the gorge, transportation, unexpected expenses. For all of the above, you will need a small backpack.
If the passage of the Samaria Gorge seems difficult to you, you want to take your children with you and join non-mass tourism, go on an excursion to the neighboring Aradena Gorge. Enjoy a 3-hour hike through the scenic White Mountains, lunch at a tavern and a swim at Marmara Beach.